Of course this weekend Manchester United are scheduled to face West Brom in our opening Premier League fixture of the new season. With that in mind, it’s worth looking back at how United have got on, on opening-day Premier League history.
After an earlier article looking back on how United got on in their first 10 opening-day fixtures in the Premier League, here’s how United have got on in their last 9 opening-day games in the league.
2002/03 – United 1 West Brom 0
After losing the title the previous season to Arsenal and with only Rio Ferdinand signed prior to the start of the season, United fans perhaps would not have been blamed for being pessimistic about whether they could regain the title. In an nervy encounter at Old Trafford a late goal from Ole Gunnar Solksjaer proved the difference as Albion made life difficult in their maiden Premier League fixture.
2003/04 – United 4 Bolton 0
David Beckham might have left to join Real Madrid in the summer of 2003, but immediately Old Trafford had a new number 7 to adore. His name was Cristiano Ronaldo and on debut, he dazzled in a 30 minute cameo of the bench. United already 1-0 up following a Ryan Giggs free-kick turned on the style after half-time. Despite Ruud van Nistelrooy missing a penalty which Ronaldo won, goals from Giggs, Scholes put us 3 up before the Dutchman scored from close range late on.
2004/05 – Chelsea 1 United 0
There was a sense of predictability about this one as it was Jose Mourinho’s first game in charge of Chelsea. Jose of course had knocked us out of the Champions League the previous season en route to winning the trophy with FC Porto. Sadly a make-shift United team could not keep up with the Blues who after taking the lead with an Eidur Gudjohnsen goal never let their grip of the game.
2005/06 – Everton 0 United 2
In an early kick-off United went top of the Premier League briefly with a solid win at Goodison Park. After van Nistelrooy went close twice early on, he put us in the lead two minutes of time with a neat finish from a John O’Shea cross. Amazingly barley 30 seconds after the restart the lead was doubled with Wayne Rooney scoring on his old stomping ground after he was presented with a chance inside the box after Joseph Yobo carelessly slid the ball across the area.
2006/07 – United 5 Fulham 1
Ronaldo and Rooney had made controversy at the World Cup in Germany. On their first game after the tournament, the two combined brilliantly to kill Fulham off as United surged into a 4-0 lead after only 17 minutes. A header by Louis Saha got us off to a great start before Rooney scored from close range. Ronaldo powered in a Rooney cross for the third before Ian Pearce scored an own goal. Heidar Helguson’s shot deflected in off Rio Ferdinand before Rooney completed the scoring after half-time.
2007/08 – United 0 Reading 0
It’s not often that visiting teams come to Old Trafford and tactically outsmart us to get a point, but that’s exactly what Steve Coppell masterminded as United failed to break down his Reading side. In a game of limited chances, Giggs had our best opportunity of the game hitting the post inside the area. Losing Rooney through injury after half-time hurt us and O’Shea comically had to play up front. Even despite Reading going down to 10 men thanks to Dave Kitson’s late sending-off, they held out much to the delight of their travelling support.
2008/09- United 1 Newcastle 1
A year on after Reading frustrated the Old Trafford crowd; Kevin Keegan’s Newcastle did the same. At least the Magpies tried to win the game and went ahead when Obafemi Martins leapt well from a corner to head home. The lead didn’t last long though as Darren Fletcher finished well from a Ryan Giggs cross. Shay Given kept his team in the game after that and made some splendid saves from Fletcher and Frazier Campbell. It Didn’t matter in the long run though as United won the league and Newcastle suffered relegation that season.
2009/10 – United 1 Birmingham City 0
Newly promoted Birmingham made United work hard for the three points as a first-half Rooney goal was the difference between the sides. Joe Hart though impressed on his debut on-loan for City and made several smart saves to keep his new team in the game. Rooney struck 10 minutes before the interval when he tapped the ball home after seeing a header come of the woodwork. Ben Foster made a good save to deny Chucho Benitez before Michael Owen wasted a chance in injury-time.
2010/11 – United 3 Newcastle 0
Goals from Dimitar Berbatov, Fletcher and Giggs secured a comfortable win for United over the newly promoted Magpies on a rare Monday-night season opener at Old Trafford. Despite not getting on the score-sheet Paul Scholes was the star of the night and was easily the man of the match. He rolled back the years with two beautiful passes to set Berbatov and Giggs up for their goals. Between those goals Fletcher scored our second from close range when he scuffled in Patrice Evra’s cross to seal the game just before half-time.
By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87
Transfer blow for Man United as £13m difference could stop the deal for Portugese star
Bruno Fernandes transfer to Manchester United at the risk of collapse
The transfer of Portuguese star Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon is at the risk of collapse with Sporting Lisbon holding out for £55million, according to Portuguese station TVI24 (h/t Metro).
The 25-year-old midfielder has informed the Portuguese club of his wish to move to Old Trafford and has already agreed on personal terms with United. Sporting are unhappy with United’s opening offer of £42m, which is £13m short of the Portuguese club’s expectation.
United’s offer contains a number of add-on clauses that can eventually take the deal to £60million. Sporting, however, deem the conditions improbable and are seeking a greater fee upfront.
Sporting are unwilling to drop their asking price as United have failed to include a player in exchange as a part of the deal.
The Portuguese side were willing to accept a lower fee had a player been included. However, neither Andreas Pereira or Marcos Rojo were willing to move to the Portuguese Primeira Liga.
Fernandes played in the 2-0 loss to arch-rivals Benfica in what could be the player’s last match for Sporting.
The Portuguese club have demanded a minimum of £55.3million as a guaranteed payment. They also expect United to include bonuses that are more achievable.
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Sporting will have to pay 50% of the sell-on fee to Fernandes’ previous club Sampdoria and will look to get as much as they can from United.
Man Utd agree on contract terms with midfielder who could be signed for £51m
Manchester United have reportedly agreed on terms with Bruno Fernandes
Manchester United have reportedly agreed on terms with Portuguese star Bruno Fernandes. (h/t Sun)
The 25-year-old has played 25 times for Sporting this season and has scored 13 goals and 10 assists. (h/t Whoscored)
United were to make their first formal offer for the player. It is being reported now that the deal has already been agreed upon. (h/t Sun)
It’s claimed that Fernandes has been offered a deal nearing £100,000-a-week at United.
The signing of the Sporting skipper should provide the United midfield with numbers and an attacking impetus.
The midfielder has an £85million release clause in his contract but Old Trafford bosses have been working to drive the price down. The club were also open to offering two players to bring the price down. (h/t Sun)
Fernandes was part of the Portuguese squad that won the UEFA Nations League in 2019.
He has won 19 caps for the Portuguese national side and has scored 2 goals since making his debut in 2017.
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United next play Manchester City in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semifinals at the Etihad on Wednesday.
The Red Devils trail 3-1 from the first leg as they aim to get to their first final under Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.
Man United veteran snubs extension and demands immediate transfer
Ashley Young rejects one-year contract extension offer
Veteran star Ashley Young has rejected a one-year extension on his contract at Manchester United. (h/t Sky Sports)
The 34-year-old’s contract at United expires at the end of the season and the player looks likely to leave in the summer. Inter Milan are said to be interested in securing Young’s services (h/t Sky Sports).
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer is keen to keep the player at Old Trafford. Young is one of the leaders in the United dressing room and has the versatility to play in multiple positions.
Antonio Conte has been a long term admirer of Young and even tried to sign him when he was at Chelsea. Conte is ready to offer the play an 18-month contract at Inter with a considerable pay rise.
Young joined United in the summer of 2011 and has gone on to make 261 appearances for the English giants.
He took over as captain from Antonio Valencia at the beginning of this season.
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Young is keen on moving to Inter immediately rather than waiting for the summer (h/t Daily Mail). He has been left angered by United’s refusal to sanction the deal in January.
United are in the midst of an injury crisis and losing Young would deal a harsh blow to whatever little chances we have this season.
Man United to enter head-to-head battle with Arsenal for this £19m-rated MLS wonder kid
United and Arsenal to fight it out for Atlanta United forward Ezequiel Barco
Manchester United and Arsenal are interested in the signature of MLS wonderkid Ezequiel Barco. (h/t Daily Star)
The 21-year-old winger, who plays for Atalanta United, has impressed since his move to the MLS from Independiente in 2018. Barco has made 59 appearances for Atalanta and has scored 9 goals and 9 assists. (h/t Whoscored)
He won the 2017 Copa Sudamericana with Independiente and scored in the second leg of the final through a penalty as the Argententians prevailed 3-2 over Flamengo.
Both Manchester United and Arsenal need midfield reinforcements in the January transfer window and Barco would be a good signing for either club.
United boss Ole Gunnar Solksjaer needs additions in the midfield with Paul Pogba and Scott Mctominay out injured. United also sold both Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera in the summer and failed to replace them. Barco can score and assist and be the creative spark that we need.
The 21-year-old has represented the Argentinian Under-20s, 9 times and has scored 2 goals. (h/t Whoscored)
Atlanta value Barco at around £19m, which would be a snip in today’s market.
With the likes of Inter Milan, Sporting Lison and AS Roma also interested in the player, United must move quickly to secure him if we want to avoid a bidding war.
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With the player’s contract running till 2022, Atalanta hold the aces in any negotiations